Simon Lewis

  • Simon is Professor of Global Change Science jointly at UCL and the University of Leeds. He is a plant ecologist with a central focus on the tropics and global environmental change, how humans are changing the Earth system, and especially the future compositional and functional trajectory of the tropical forest biome. His work has attracted wide media attention and he is regularly asked for public comment on tropical forest and climate change related science. His research focuses on the impacts and interactions of multiple anthropogenic global change phenomena and tropical forests. A number of strands of recent research show that apparently undisturbed tropical forests have altered dramatically over recent decades: (1) they have become a net carbon sink, absorbing carbon and buffering the rate of climate change, (2) their tree populations have become much more dynamic, and I have recently shown (3) that these two trends have occurred simultaneously within the same forest stands, as forest productivity has increased. So far however, studies of long-term changes in tropical forests have investigated only stand-level properties: only the behaviour of all the trees together has been studied. These stand-level changes beg several questions: (1) are some tree species becoming more abundant at the expense of others? (2) What do these changes mean for critical ecosystem functions, such as how much carbon these forests store and hence their contribution to either slowing or accelerating the rate of climate change? (3) What drivers are causing such changes? Thus, the aims of this fellowship are to understand the recent, current, and likely future functional trajectory of the tropical forest biome, by conducting the first comprehensive investigation into changes in forest composition and function across the tropics.

  • Researcher ID

    Orchid ID: 0000-0002-8066-6851

    Scopus ID: 56105640400

  • Educations

    B.Sc. in Ecology and Conservation Biology, University of Leeds, Faculty of Biological Sciences

    Ph.D. in Tropical Forest Ecology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Department of Plant Sciences

  • Position

    Professor, University of Leeds



Simulating carbon accumulation and loss in the central Congo peatlands

Young, D.M.; Baird, A.J.; Morris, P.J.; Dargie, G.C.; Mampouya Wenina, Y.E.; Mbemba, M.; Boom, A.; Cook, P.; Betts, R.; Burke, E.; Bocko, Y.E.; Chadburn, S.; Crabtree, D.E.; Crezee, B.; Ewango, C.E.N.; Garcin, Y.; Georgiou, S.; Girkin, N.T.; Gulliver, P.; Hawthorne, D.; Ifo, S.A.; Lawson, I.T.; Page, S.E.; Jovani-Sancho, A.J.; Schefuß, E.; Sciumbata, M.; Sjögersten, S.; Lewis, S.L.


Peatlands of the Central Congo Basin, current realities and perspectives

Sonwa, D.J.; Lewis, S.L.; Ifo, S.A.; Ewango, C.; Mitchard, E.T.A.; Dargie, G.C.; Lawson, I.T.; Gourlet-Fleury, S.; Doumenge, C.; Gond, V.; Betbeder, J.; Toham, A.K.; Van Offelen, J.; Kopansky, D.; D’Annunzio, R.; Monsembula, R.; Nuutinen, M.; Villegas, L.; Milliken, K.; Philippon, N.; Bigot, S.; Freeman, O.E.; Bambuta, J.J.; Jungers, Q.; Román Cuesta, R.M.

Co-authors networks

Map of Sciences.


Founding member states
Republic of Indonesia Republic of the Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo Republic of Peru
Coordinating partners
Ministry of Environment and Forestry Republic of Indonesia CIFOR UN Environment FAO